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Tuesday 4 October 2016

An English village pub proves a very pleasant surprise

The line between pubs and restaurants has become quite blurred in England, where some of the very best food can be found in pubs where selling beer is pretty much a sideline. 

This can lead to some very pleasant surprises; like last week when a friend invited me to the Inn on the Green in the sleepy Norfolk village of New Buckenham. 

Now the Inn on the Green is nothing special from the outside, but it has been beautifully decorated inside, is bright and lively and serves sell-out lunch crowds; particularly on this sunny Sunday. 

The starters were exemplary, tasty crab cakes (Norfolk is famous for its crabs) and a delicious chicken liver parfait with toast, greens and chutney.

I chose a roast pork and crackling dish as a main (the vegetables were crisp and decidedly un-English).

The food was straightforward and fresh; the service excellent.

The menu sometimes features adventurous dishes like cockle popcorn, buttered Norfolk samphire and lemon mayo; sole, gurnard and whiting fillets, lemon-roasted new potatoes, green beans and chive butter or maybe clementine and Cointreau posset with cinnamon.  

The wine is also taken pretty seriously with an Argentine malbec, Italian trebbiano and a Spanish crianza among the by-the-glass options from eight different countries, along with a selection of real ales. The Inn on the Green is a freehouse, meaning it is not tied to any one brewery.

While food is obviously a focus, the Inn on the Green remains a traditional south Norfolk pub. 

Dating back to 1898, it was originally built as a railway hotel named The George. After a makeover and name change a few years back it is comfortably shared by locals and their hunting dogs standing at the bar alongside well-heeled visitors who arrive in trendy sports cars.

There is a roaring fire in winter and a courtyard garden for those rare warmer days in summer - but beware: the pub is closed on Mondays during winter. 

The Inn on the Green, Chapel Street, New Buckenham, Norfolk. 01953 860 172. 


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